Last Sunday, Liam Mellows claimed their first Galway SHC title in 47 years when they beat favourites Gort 3-12 to 1-15.
I was listening to RTE Radio One as the magic unfolded at Pearse Stadium and Louis Mulqueen’s gallant underdogs took the first hurling title back to Galway City since Castlegar’s triumph in 1984.
“The man’s a magician,” said Mellows’ captain David Collins of former Clare selector, Mulqueen. A quick look through the Ennis man’s achievements and it’s hard to argue.
Collins and others spoke of Louis’ passion for hurling but I for one can attest to a passion for sport in general. I remember one summer’s day in Sarsfield Park in Lucan when Louis demonstrated how to kick a football over the telephone wires as his awed younger cousin looked on.
Later, I can also remember sitting in Premium Level seats (provided by Louis) in Croke Park in 1999 as St. Joseph’s Doora-Barefield clinched the All-Ireland Club Championship. I even remember the Coca-Cola and Tayto and games of pool in their clubhouse a few weeks later.
But, most of all I remember summers spent in Ennis and my grandfather talking hurling with his brother and Louis’ father and my much-loved uncle Tony. Clare was hurling mad back then, but it was all foreign to us visiting Dubs. Louis was an Arsenal fan I seem to remember and he sometimes joined in for a kick about. Mostly though he was off training teams and organising Summer Camps in Ennis. It was more than just a mere passion to him, it was an obsession, and it was inspiring for a young wannabe sportsman like me.
He has quite rightly this week received the plaudits from those involved with both Liam Mellows and the game of hurling in general. I haven’t spoken to Louis in quite a number of years, but his passion for sport and the time he gave young athletes in Ennis and further afield is something every sports club could benefit from and was a source of inspiration to me at a time when I needed nudging toward healthy pursuits!